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Little Joe

In the tradition of orquesta Tejana, Little Joe Hernandez is hardly a diminutive figure. He was highly influenced by the earlier performer Beto Villa, and together the two men are the most recognized figures in this genre, a sibling to the Mexican-American style known as conjunto. The two forms of music are literally singing history books. For many years the orquesta Tejano style was like the high class version of conjunto, the choice of upwardly mobile Tejanos who considered conjunto low-rent. Indeed, listeners such as this might actually scowl if a conjunto side was played, hearing a connection with what they feel they have left behind, the so-called backward and low-class Mexican way of life. Orquesta Tejana, on the other hand, was supposed to reflect upper-class status as well as biculturalism, the Mexican immigrants' increasing Americanization as well as their romantic attachment to their native roots. The "grande senor" Beto Villa is most often considered the inventor the style, bringing in the countrified, folksy ranchero style -- the word "ranchero" means "country." Villa could play both ranchero and what was called "jaitón," or "high class." It took another 20 years before Hernandez and his group, Little Joe y la Familia, took Villa's innovations and continued the expansion of ideas. The result has been called a true hybrid of ranchero and jaitón, bringing in everything from conjunto polkas to country & western, blues, and jazz. In the 1970s, Hernandez was definitely the big man in what was becoming known as la Onda Chicana or "the Chicano wave." One of his masterpieces is the ranchera entitled "Las Nubes" or "The Clouds," a synthesis of jazz and ranchero. It is rare for such an innovative piece of music to attain such popularity, but this theme did this among Chicano listeners throughout the Southwest.

Perhaps part of this accepting relationship with his audience is due to this artist's involvement with grass roots politics as well as music. In direct contrast to the social origins of his music, Hernandez is a man of the people, not some wealthy star living in a castle. He has thrown his weight behind major Chicano political issues as well as becoming involved in new movements within the recording industry as well. Sometimes known as "the king of the brown sound," Hernandez teamed up with other Chicano celebrities and business people to start the Chicano Alliance Network or CAN. This is an attempt to help link Chicano individuals and Chicano businesses which could assist each other. He was extremely vocal in support of the American Federation of Musician's "STAR" campaign, an acronym for Support Advancement in Tejano Recording. Originating in the late '90s, this was the first industry-wide organizing effort to set inequities right in the recording industry. Major labels are all parties to the AFM's labor agreements, but as a result of corporate structuring, musicians recording for separate but affiliated Chicano music labels -- such as EMI Latin, Sony Discos, and WEA Latina -- don't receive the same scale wages or other benefits of these contracts. Hernandez spent his childhood as a migrant field labor and is a longtime supporter of Cesar Chavez and United Farm Workers. The artist found STAR a similar cause that hit him and his musician collaborators right in the pocket. After over four decades in the music business, Hernandez has cut some 50 albums and has been involved in arranging session fees for many musicians, especially when running his own label, Buena Suerte. Payments might not have been up to scale, but the bandleader has more than cashed in as far as prizes being handed out. He has received a Grammy, the state of Texas Governor's Award for artistic excellence and has been won multiple honors from the Tejano Music Awards. He is featured in the documentary film Tex-Mex: Music of the Texas-Mexican Borderlands, but also has done a few acting jobs, including director Cesar Alejandro's gritty Down in the Barrio. In the late '90s, he began performing with the all-star band the Texas Tornados. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi
full bio

Comments


THE thebest
Marina Salgado

Green Eyes-
Ojitos Verdes
That's what it's all abot
BIG RICK S.P. SAN ANTO,TEJAS (SPURS) ORALE Little joe ~SUNNY OZUNA ...
lam_5225
Little Joe y Familia lo mejor de los mejores
Shina los stacies carnal todoa
Los de la panhandle old melonero memories puro valle pachuco l o
I really love your music when we were growing up my dad and mom always listen to you so did we we are from the valley Harlingen texas know we live in Michigan I always her Pandora that's all I play your music my dad just past away it's hard because he always listen to good luck and many more success God bless you many more years form Bronson Michigan
Ahh LIttle joe... I remember way back in the late 70's and 80's when they would come out her to Califas and play in Guadalupe and Santa Maria Recuerdos de mi Vida
Handsome, dude, you, one of a kind, love your music,
sguevara24
I hear lil Joe way back in home town Laredo I just hang con a bunch eses from the hood I love those days pura raza
.im 66 n danced to his music back in area round Taft tx.Viva 4ever Alma Cuevas
gezami41
Have known Lil Joe since "60's awesome then and now.
danny.tercer o
A lot of great Tejano Artists, but Little Joe is the best.
Little Joe is the King of Brown Sound.
Firme rolas.!!!
valeriejarco s
Love the song.god bless you
Your the best. God bless you
herbennett
Little Joe, you're the one and only! God Bless You now and always!
I like school fom the 80 hit u in the heart
Has always been my favorite, love his style of music. May you have the best of health and enjoy the love from all your grateful fans. May God Bless You
Viva La Raza
faguirre2524
Viva Little Joe por vida !!!
vcandy50
I grew up listening to little joe... Wow the last time we seen him was as great as the first time I heard his music- little joe and the latinaires !!!!! I love his sounds !! It's in my sangre <3
Any of u have any tejano music from a group called Romance?
i know little joe when he started my cus.played with him,i know rocky,johnny , a n d el charro negro ,my cus. tought him to sing in spanish,los chamacos,jam i e , i s my cus.also
Man all I can say is tejano is in my heart and soul por vida locos get'em
ismaelvelajr
So many good and bad memories that come to my mind when I hear this influential man play. I can remember back in the 80's when he would play for free at different parks and other places across the Lone Star State. Certainly a time to remember.
anthonyc6
Love Little Joe, he will always be played in my circle.
A toda rache!
excelent entertaiment for years keep it going
No Lllores Chingon!!!!! !
Viva la raza
yagamez55
PURA RAZA!!!!!!!! ! ! ! !
great to here oldies
cvatomolinar
Pura Sangre Tejana!
This is what I"am talking about! Mucica that hits you in the heart everytime .That Little Joe,Ramon Ayala, Aqustin Ramidez.Ya and a nice cold BeeR!!!
katmanlu9
Toke is the bomb... not only that .. but TOKE IS DA BOMB Que viva la RAZA
Little Joe y La Familia, brings back good memories. He's playing tonight here in Amarillo. Gonna make more good memories. got to go shine the dancing boots....... . . . . . . . .
crios3192
let's keep the old school going
LITTLE JOE Y LA FAMILIA ARE THE GREATEST. I GREW UP WITH THEM. I WONDER HOW OLD LITTLE JOE IS NOW
great music
liz0854
They just don't make music like Little Joe, Ruben, Latin Breed, I could go on
I never thought that I could enjoy Pandora
Radio this much!
i would to hear more of little joes y la famila back in tge 1960 s
can't beat him. great music. brings back memories. thank you joe
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